Volume 4. Issue 1, Fall 2010

Religious Diversity as Peacebuilding

The Space for Peace
Peter Berliner,
Ernesto Anasarias, and
Elena de Casas Soberón

At daybreak the aircraft lands heavily at Mindanao’s Davao Airport. Mindanao is the most southern of the major islands of the Philippines.

Conflict in the Peaceable Kingdom

Quaker Identity, Silence and Virtue Ethics
Susan Robson

Using British Quakers as an illustrative case study, this paper will examine core questions, such as, How are conflicts perceived, generated, and enacted in this organization? What are the characteristic marks of Quaker conflict? and What are the socially accepted ways to respond to conflict among Quakers? The answers suggest that individuals in conflict are positioned by varying discourses and examine the consequence of this. As an insider researcher I am also positioned by different discourses, and the tension between these is an important source of data alongside more traditional qualitative methods.

Certainty and Diversity

A Systematic Approach to Interreligious Learning
Dorothee Schlenke


Religion and Peaceful Conflict

Jesper Garsdal

The discussion about the role of religion in the surge of cultural conflicts during the last two decades has become quite ramified, but the main controversy centers on the alternat

Building a “City of Peace” through Intercommunal Association

Muslim-Christian Relations in Harar, Ethiopia, 1887-2009
Jan Bender Shetler and
Dawit Yehualashet

Within the current global context of rising Muslim-Christian conflict and warfare, it is increasingly important to study situations where Muslims and Christians have maintained peaceful relations, not just situations of violence. Harar, Ethiopia, an ancient city of Muslim learning incorporated into the Ethiopian Christian Empire in 1887, has remained relatively peaceful in spite of every indicator for violence. It thus offers a case study for testing Ashutosh Varshney’s theory that peace must be studied at the level of the city, where “peace-prone” cities rely on associations of civil society that bring people from different religious backgrounds into everyday contact to manage the inevitable tensions of a plural society. Our research in Harar found that peace is indeed due to robust intercommunal associations, particularly at the informal level, but it is also a result of divisions within Muslim and Christian religious communities, the strength of intracommunal social control, and finally the commitment of the Harari regional government to peace. Since the time of the conquest, tensions between Muslims and Christians have been high, but, because of their shared interests, people in Harar have managed to creatively build a strong set of civil society organizations and leadership. These were successfully put to the test in 2001 when a riot around a religious procession was effectively controlled through the joint effort of local networks and government intervention.

Post-War Guatemala

Justice, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation
Michael K. Duffey

In No Future without Forgiveness, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, chair of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (SA TRC) argued that the post-conflict healing process in South Africa could not begin with criminal justice, but only with forgiveness, without which, he said, there is no future. Some victims did forgive the agents of Apartheid for their crimes. But how and whether forgiveness occurs is the issue. In the wake of 9/11 Pope John Paul II acknowledged in a message titled “No Peace without Justice, No Justice without Forgiveness” that criminal justice must be served but warned against broad retaliation. Failure to forgive and to work toward reconciliation only perpetuates deadly cycles of violence. The Pope declared that there is “no peace without justice, no justice without forgiveness.” Why must there be forgiveness if justice is to be served?

Engaging Girard

Is a Girardian Political Ethic Necessary?
Nathan Colborne

René Girard supplements his account of the origins of violence with a demand, emerging from the Gospels, for the renunciation of violence in imitation of Christ. This paper argues that the substance of this renunciation must be developed in conversation with an ethos of political engagement if it is to avoid abstraction. The thought of political theorist William Connolly provides a way to discuss a Girardian renunciation of violence that can be rooted in particular ethical habits and allow for genuine political engagement. Though critical of Girard, the essay concludes by highlighting possibilities for a genuine political but nonviolent engagement emerging from his work.

Whose Truth, Whose Justice?

Religious and Cultural Traditions in Transitional Justice
Landon E. Hancock and
Aysegul Keskin Zeren

Abstract: This paper seeks to explore the role of religious and cultural traditions in the form and function of transitional justice mechanisms. With the rise in the use of multiple methods of transitional justice, from international tribunals to hybrid courts, truth commissions, and local mechanisms, comes the question of whether these mechanisms serve the interests of the people in whose name they act, or if they instead serve the interests of the international community. Our argument is that those mechanisms that incorporate local religious and cultural traditions will have more acceptance from victims, survivors, and bystanders and may, thus, be seen as more successful than those that operate based on traditions embodied by the international legal community and Western nations.

Beyond Constantinianism

A Critical and Constructive Response to the Diasporic Ethics of Exile Theology
Nicholas Read Brown

Recent developments within and between the fields of historical Jesus study, Christian ethics, and political theory have helped surmount what were once nearly insuperable methodological barriers to stimulate a thick interdisciplinary dialogue. The density of this coalescence is particularly salient with respect to the rise of exilic theology and diasporic ethics. Scholars appropriating this newly emergent paradigm represent a diverse group of thinkers working across a broad spectrum of interests and include (among others) the late John Howard Yoder and Edward Said, Alain Epp Weaver, N. T. Wright, Walter Brueggemann, Daniel Smith-Christopher and Daniel and Jonathan Boyarin. Each has asserted in various contexts that Israel’s exilic experience during the six century BCE provides a highly instructive counter-hegemonic discourse and praxis to those communities still living in some form of exile today. Yoder in particular came to be especially influenced by the theme of exile and toward the end of his career repeatedly argued that the Jeremiahic exhortation to “seek the peace (shalom) of the city” was more politically emblematic of Jesus’ diasporic ethic of ‘not being in charge’ than the Constantinian ethos of Christendom. Nevertheless continued research into the historical Jesus as well as further evaluation of exile theology are beginning to call some of its historical and normative premises into question. Among those that are of interest to this writer are whether Jesus was, per W. D. Davies and N. T. Wright, almost entirely indifferent to Israel’s territorial restoration and whether Yoder’s concept of Constantinianism goes too far in critiquing the (im)moral status of the state. My purpose is to probe these critical questions further and develop a response to exile theology and diasporic ethics that is both critical and constructive. To that end I will discuss Karen Winnel’s historical investigation into Jesus’ understanding of the land, Gerarld Shlabach’s ethical reflections on what he terms the “Deuteronomic Juncture,” and Michael Walzer’s theoretical analysis of reiterative universalism in order to advance the thesis that Jesus did in fact envision a physical reconstitution of Israel’s territorial kingdom and that this spatial aspect of his mission correlatively provides the historical and normative basis from which it is possible to construct a nationalism of just peacemaking.

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Journal of Religion, Conflict, and Peace. Copyright © 2013.
Published by Plowshares: a Peace Studies Collaborative of Earlham and Goshen Colleges and Manchester University. Supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.
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